5 Moonshine Mistakes to Avoid

5 Moonshine Mistakes to Avoid

Making moonshine is a fun (and delicious!) hobby that has long roots in American history. However, little missteps can cause big problems! Check out five moonshine mistakes to avoid.



Making moonshine is a fun and rewarding hobby but one that requires the right equipment and knowledge to get the job done right. 

While making moonshine occurs with the same ingredients found in many kitchens, it requires a scientific approach and precise technique to actually get it right. 

Fortunately, making moonshine can be a rather simple process or extremely complex. There are basic recipes and approaches for beginners and opportunities for seasoned shiners to get more and more intricate and complex as they hone their craft. 

Just like any new endeavor, there are a few potential pitfalls to avoid. Don't worry, though! By learning from common mistakes, you can ensure your moonshine journey is smooth sailing.


Check out: Spring Clean your Moonshine Still


Mistake #1: Skipping the Sanitation





Taking a scientific approach and mindset is key when making moonshine so
Cleanliness is key!


Bacteria can not only ruin your batch, but worse, contaminate your equipment and future brews.


Always thoroughly sanitize your distiller, fermenter, and all utensils before use. There are readily available sanitizers specifically designed for brewing, making the process simple and effective.



Mistake #2: Rushing Fermentation





Patience is a virtue, especially when it comes to fermentation. Leaving your mash to ferment for the proper amount of time allows the yeast to fully convert the sugars into alcohol, resulting in a cleaner and higher-quality final product. Don't be tempted to cut corners –  let your patience be rewarded!

There are many tools and techniques that can help to determine when fermentation is complete. Your airlock is a simple tool that will show the activity inside the fermentor on the outside via bubbles. 

Another option is using a hydrometer to determine when fermentation is complete. A hydrometer can not only tell you when fermentation is complete but also the ABV to expect. 

 Check out: How to Ferment Your Moonshine Mash


Mistake #3: Not Controlling Temperature





Temperature plays a crucial role in fermentation. Most yeasts work best within a specific temperature range, typically between 68°F and 78°F (20°C and 26°C).  If the temperature gets too high, the yeast can die, while temperatures that are too low will slow fermentation significantly.

Invest in a moonshine thermometer and consider using a temperature control system for optimal results.


Mistake #4: Forgetting the Cuts




The first and last portions ("heads" and "tails") of your distillate contain unwanted elements that can make your moonshine taste unpleasant and even be hazardous. 

Learning to identify and collect only the "heart" of the distillate – the smoothest and most drinkable portion –  is an essential skill for any moonshine maker.

Check out: How to Determine Heads and Hearts Like a Pro


Mistake #5: Not Using the Right Equipment and Ingredients 



Making a moonshine mash is similar to following a recipe, however, your kitchen tools are not the right ones for the job. 

Getting the correct equipment for making moonshine does not have to be expensive. In fact, getting a moonshine still that is right for your experience and comfort level can make the process easy and affordable. 



Our Moonshine Starter Kit is an affordable way to get everything you need to make your first moonshine mash easily and affordably.  All the  must have components for making your initial moonshine mash are provided—a 5 gallon pot, a thermometer, a hydrometer, cheesecloth, a mash paddle, and our How to Make Moonshine e-book.




Using quality grain is also a great way to help ensure a quality end result. Our moonshine grain kits are a great option to get everything you need to make a great moonshine mash all in one convenient kit. 



By avoiding these common mistakes, you'll be well on your way to crafting delicious and high-quality moonshine. Remember, knowledge is power! Research different techniques, experiment with recipes, and most importantly, have fun on your moonshine brewing adventure!

Bonus Tip: While we celebrate the homebrewing spirit, it's important to be aware of the laws and regulations regarding moonshine production in your area. Always check local regulations before embarking on your moonshine journey.

Check out: Home Distilling Laws by State